Netanyahu walks back from comments that seemingly dismissed US-backed ceasefire proposal in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has walked back from his comments where he appeared to dismiss the latest Tel Aviv ceasefire proposal backed by the United States in the Gaza Strip.

“We will not end the war until we return all of our hostages – 120 hostages, the living and the deceased. We are committed to the Israeli proposal, which President [Joe] Biden has welcomed. Our position has not changed,” he said speaking at the Knesset plenum on Monday.

His latest comments come the day after he stated in an interview with a local Israeli media that he was ready to make “a partial deal” with Hamas to return some hostages still being held captive in the besieged enclave, but reiterating his position that the war will still continue after a ceasefire “to achieve the goal of eliminating” Hamas.

Netanyahu’s comments were at odds with the aims of a broader proposal outlined by Biden last month. That plan, which Washington has announced is an Israeli one, sets out conditions intended to lead to the eventual release of all remaining hostages, in return for a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces.

Tens of thousands of Israelis have consistently rallied against Netanyahu and his government, demanding early elections and a deal to return the captives.

The Gaza Strip has been gripped by more than eight months of war since a Hamas-led attack on Israel led to the deaths of 1,200 people, with dozens still held captive in Gaza.

Israel’s military offensive on Gaza has since killed at least 37,600 people, according to the Palestinian territory’s Ministry of Health.

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